by sabrahardy on September 24, 2010

Hello honored Vet’s and newbies like myself. My name is Sabra i’m taking classes for 10 weeks at Cecelia Bauer which is next door to :”ALLCRAFT:”  jewlery supplies in the heart of the Fashion/Fur/Fabric district at 135 West 29TH Street in NYC.  i’m learning fusing.   last night at class i finally got the point.  I was reading all day at work John Cogswell – Creative Stone Setting, also an article on Ganoksins “Best Jeweler of the Week”  At the institute both the book and articles explain more about fusing as well as soldering.
I had spent last weekend burning up about 60 loops – 22 gage round .999 fine silver wire making a woven chain.  Frustrating wasn’t the word!!!!!   i used a magnifying glass (i’ll get the glasses soon)  a butane torch the flame isn’t controllable as a real jewlers torch!!!
Yesterday In Ms.Bauers’ class using Acetylene she said the ‘oxygen’ will come later.   I had a much needed break through i was fusing my silver hoops perfectly!!!!!  She even commented i had improved in the space of a week.  My deductive reasoning is:  when making the loops the seams must fit tightly, That is directly related to your dexterity —  meaning getting the hang of using your non-writing hand to move the cut points of the loop back and forth opposed to your writing hand which keeps heavy tension.  The jump hoops or loops must be cut cleanly as well.    Loops must lay as flat as possible and the seams facing you uniformly.  the seams can’t overlap – shift off to one side.   When firing I was instructed to hold my hand up.  The faint blue most outer – rim of the flame touching the center of the loop. As soon as you see that orange “sinter” gently flick the flame to the seam – the flow follows the flick of the flame quickly pull up.  If the metal didn’t flow to the seam try again gently DO NOT LINGER.   Mr. Cogswell says:  “The heat from the metal not the flame will make the metal solder (fusion) flow.  I learned that the hard way.
one .999 fine silver loop i accidentally heated on one side by accident and got that weakening of the metal that bubble everyone hates.  Cecelia Bauer make me remember to heat evenly she taught me to hold the flame higher using only the outer rim – that faint blue colored part of the flame.  Last night i used Solderite board.  Also John Cogswell suggests using a “Wire mesh” and/or “Wire basket”  to pull the heat away from the charcol / solderite board as charcol / solderite acts as a conductor sending more heat into metal from underneath.  He said the heat conduction of the board under the metal sometimes causes metal to melt.  I believe he explains it that way.
I had no idea your hand had to stay so steady and your awareness had to stay so sharp dealing with the color of the flame as well as the heat conduction of the material your Fusing or Soldering with more importantly the tiniest of wrist actions moving the metal with the heat from the fire.  I love fusing it’s a challenge but when it comes out right it’s sweet!!!



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